Champions Academy provides basketball leagues for children and youth, including practices, games, tournaments, and opportunities to participate in regional and national championships organized by FENIBALON, the national basketball federation of Nicaragua. Discipleship is integrated into weekly games and practices, and all participants attend weekly Bible studies at our nearby office / small community center.
Champions for Jesus also offers tournaments that are open to youth in the wider community. All participants are held to a high standard of conduct on the court, and while Champions is on the neighborhood basketball courts, they become a space that is free of illegal substances or foul language. For these tournaments, Champions uses special events to share the gospel with participants and onlookers.
Our programming is offered free of cost to all participants.
Nicaragua is located in Central America, nestled between Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. With about 50,000 square miles of land area (similar in size to the state of Alabama), It is a beautiful land of lakes and volcanos, narrow enough to drive from the Atlantic coast in the morning to the Pacific coast in the evening. The population of Nicaragua is approximately 6.5 million people, comparable to the population of Tennessee. Nicaraguan people are warm, cheerful, and generous, much like the land where they live.
Sadly, Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Repeated patterns of political corruption and instability as well as natural disasters have contributed to nation’s economic state. Currently, almost 1 in 4 Nicaraguans live below the national poverty level, and an estimated 14% are living are less than $3.20 a day. Food insecurity is common, and the healthcare system is weak. It is estimated that fewer than half of students in Nicaragua graduate from the 6th grade in an education system that poorly prepares students to compete in an international market by falling short of more developed nation’s standards.
About Ciudad Sandino
Champions currently primarily serves the community of Ciudad Sandino, a densely populated, urban municipality on the western edge of Managua, the capital city. It is a poor community where unemployment is high, and many of those who are employed earn minimal wages in jobs in a nearby textile factory or as street vendors, etc. Ciudad Sandino has very few spaces and organizations to provide recreational opportunities. Although parents often work long hours, children who attend school often only attend for a half day, as schools provided classes to half of attendees in the morning and half of attendees in the afternoon, due to inability to offer lunch for students. These factors combine to contribute to the area’s high rate of delinquency and substance abuse.
Mac grew up in Ciudad Sandino, Managua, Nicaragua and now lives in South Carolina. Champions For Jesus is the result of a dream that God put in his heart years ago to help reach people in his hometown community.
Klaimer has been running the on-the-ground operations of Champions for Jesus in Nicaragua since 2014, under the guidance of the Ministry Director. Klaimer is a joyful, playful personality whose love of the Lord and of young people suit him well to this mission.
Ismael began participating in Champions when he was 13 years old. He is now 18 years old, attending college, and serving part-time for Champions as coach and assistant. He is a wonderful role model and support for the ministry that played such an important role during his teen years.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Roberta Irene Romero
Daniel Van Der Hoeven
Kelli Van Der Hoeven